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REVIEW: Neon Genesis Evangelion


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jdnation



Joined: 15 May 2007
Posts: 1138
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:12 pm Reply with quote
Man I always have so much to say about EVA, but I'll just state that to this day it's still damn good in my book.

I wouldn't classify it as anything like a kid's show, but a show aimed at teens 13+ is more appropriate.

As for clones, I found RahXephon to be pretty great also. Most others never really grabbed me.

And as for spin-offs, I'd recommend Sadamoto's manga as a great companion.

Can't wait for 4.0!
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gedata



Joined: 04 May 2013
Posts: 490
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:01 pm Reply with quote
Neromon wrote:
This is one of the best reviews I've read on ANN. Good job
Also perhaps the longest.
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:19 pm Reply with quote
Lord Geo wrote:
Or how about the likes of Fafner, Aquarion, & Eureka Seven, which have all gone on to become their own franchises?

(Also, yes, people did indeed call Eureka Seven an "Eva Clone". Dai Sato even brought up how he hated that in an interview back in 2010.)


I remember one thing that I thought when I watched Eureka Seven back in 2013: "Why were people calling Gurren Lagann the 'anti-Eva' when the real anti-Eva had obviously already aired two years before?" Very Happy

(To be fair, both are vast oversimplifications. But at the very least, the spoiler[fate of the moon in E7's final episode] has got to be a deliberate EoE inversion.)

Lord Geo wrote:
I'm not saying that the term "Eva Clone" isn't without merit, & I am only checking out the first 5-7 episodes of each of these shows, but so far I've been seeing that the term itself is feeling more like a way for people to simply dismiss having to actually watch these later shows, based primarily on the fact that Evangelion came first. It'd be like dismissing any 70s super robot show because they're "Mazinger Clones", or any 80s real robot show because they're "Gundam Clones".

I mean, let's face it, mech anime in general is super iterative & flows based on what's popular. Dismissing stuff for being "clones", regardless of what they actually do differently, is kind of silly.


Though I'm honestly not sure if any mecha anime since Eva have had the degree of influence on the aesthetics of the genre that any of those three did. Like, if Raideen and Voltes V are "post-Mazinger", and Macross and Votoms are "post-Gundam", and RahXephon and Aquarion are "post-Eva"... what would we call any of the ones that have come out in the past five years? Are original mecha anime (non-adaptations) just in too much of a lull to say?
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Cardcaptor Takato



Joined: 27 Jan 2018
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:40 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Speaking of frustrations...because EVA has such an interesting world with so much lore and striking visual imagery, I feel like it never capitalized on a better way to unveil or spell out some of its mysteries, particularly on a global scale. And the fact that all the religious symbolism is apparently just there for aesthetic purposes is also a missed opportunity, in my mind.
I feel like at this point the mysteries have been built up so long and fans have so many of their own theories that I worry any attempt to actually answer the mysteries would ruin the suspense of the show when everyone has their own theories in their heads they've been building up for years.
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killjoy_the



Joined: 30 May 2015
Posts: 1907
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:20 pm Reply with quote
Great work, Nick. I hadn't been following your Eva episode write-ups like I did for Hyouka just because of time, but I'm definitely still interested in them and am glad you wrote this for ANN as well. Plans for doing EoE as well? I remember first watching Eva and thinking you couldn't get a better ending than that, and then EoE blew me away some months later, being that ending and more. Would love to read your thoughts on it!
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Ethe



Joined: 10 Jun 2017
Posts: 154
PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:43 pm Reply with quote
Amibite wrote:
As you say, Evangelion at it's core is a children's show. No different than others that also attracted a huge otaku following like Pretty Cure. Some people take issue with watching children's anime, though


Could you elaborate on this? As someone who sees no problem in enjoying kid's shows, and whose favourite TV shows of all time are all cartoons aimed at kids, I honestly don't see how anyone could call Evangelion a children's anime. Saying it aired in prime time doesn't feel like a solid enough argument to back up this claim, even though I get the point you're trying to make.
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Snomaster1
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Joined: 31 Aug 2011
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:44 pm Reply with quote
I don't know if anybody read my most recent post recently about "EVA,"but,I've gotta say,I found the show rather dark and gloomy. I don't know about others,but that's how I've often found it. An incredibly dark show that I'm amazed is so popular. You'll have to read it for yourselves,simply because I have no idea how to link it here. But,long story short,I saw this anime once and I haven't seen it since. It could have been better for me if it were a little more hopeful but it wasn't.
I hate to spoil the "Evangelion" praise party,but that's what I saw. Other people have a right to like it. I didn't,but what do the rest of you think?
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fuuma_monou



Joined: 26 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 10:59 pm Reply with quote
Ethe wrote:
Amibite wrote:
As you say, Evangelion at it's core is a children's show. No different than others that also attracted a huge otaku following like Pretty Cure. Some people take issue with watching children's anime, though


Could you elaborate on this? As someone who sees no problem in enjoying kid's shows, and whose favourite TV shows of all time are all cartoons aimed at kids, I honestly don't see how anyone could call Evangelion a children's anime. Saying it aired in prime time doesn't feel like a solid enough argument to back up this claim, even though I get the point you're trying to make.


There's the fact that the official manga adaptation by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto was serialized in Shounen Ace. The problem is that "children's show" is ill-defined. Like, how old are the kids in question?
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Shay Guy



Joined: 03 Jul 2009
Posts: 1022
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:03 am Reply with quote
fuuma_monou wrote:
There's the fact that the official manga adaptation by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto was serialized in Shounen Ace.


Judging from the list of titles on its Wikipedia page, it seems to aim a fair few years older than the likes of Jump.

These days, Eva's timeslot -- on one weekday or another -- tends to be filled by things like Aikatsu, Yokai Watch, Puzzle & Dragon, and Black Clover. That said, the content of the show itself seems pretty squarely targeted toward teens. If TV Tokyo had realized what it would become, I don't know if they'd have approved it for the timeslot they did. Certainly, it's plausible that late-night timeslots, when they started being used, were thought of as times to air "shows like Eva", or "shows for people old enough to like Eva".
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Ali07



Joined: 01 Jun 2014
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Location: Victoria, Australia
PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:36 am Reply with quote
NGE is a series I've never seen, always been on my "eventually I'll get to it list". This review has made it something I want to check out ASAP (I do have Netflix, but I also kinda want to hunt down the discs to see it with the original dub too).

I mean, I only know of the characters in this series, and that's because I randomly bought and read the manga Angelic Days. Laughing

The Sadamoto manga sounds interesting too. Not sure if I should check out the Shinji Ikari Raising Project series too.

Still, don't know if I'll end up checking out manga before anime in this case, as the hunt for discs will likely be harder (due to prices).
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:58 am Reply with quote
Shay Guy wrote:
Certainly, it's plausible that late-night timeslots, when they started being used, were thought of as times to air "shows like Eva", or "shows for people old enough to like Eva".


If by that you mean "show for otaku that we can shill our later VHS & LD releases, plus other products related to these anime", then sure. Late-night anime was made into a thing precisely for one reason: To shill products related to said anime (manga, novels, swag, VHS, laserdisc, DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.) that they want otaku to buy. It wasn't because people wanted to air similar content as Eva, necessarily. Considering when Eva was re-run in late-night in 1997, that very re-run was pretty much to help remind otaku that Death & Rebirth & End of Evangelion were coming to theaters. Also, the "Eva Clone" phenomenon didn't start until 1998, when Brain Powerd debuted on WOWOW (&, by Tomino's admission, he didn't even conceive of it as a response to Eva, though he conceded that people would compare the two), so to say that late-night was made for Eva-esque anime would be a fair bit off. In fact, BP wasn't even a late-night anime, technically, as it aired on a satellite service.

Shay Guy wrote:
Though I'm honestly not sure if any mecha anime since Eva have had the degree of influence on the aesthetics of the genre that any of those three did. Like, if Raideen and Voltes V are "post-Mazinger", and Macross and Votoms are "post-Gundam", and RahXephon and Aquarion are "post-Eva"... what would we call any of the ones that have come out in the past five years? Are original mecha anime (non-adaptations) just in too much of a lull to say?


This is a fair question, though I'd say that something like Code Geass was likely influential enough that you can say there was a "post-Geass" time for mecha. Really, though, one could argue that mecha is currently is a nostalgia-focused time, as many new mech anime productions are related to a major hit of the past (Gundam, Eureka Seven, Code Geass, Macross, etc.); there are original works still being made, but older franchises have definitely been given the limelight more.
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VerQuality
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Joined: 01 Oct 2016
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:37 pm Reply with quote
Edit: RE eva as a kid's show
It's pretty disingenuous to classify eva as a kid's show, as if to put it on the same level as something like Pokemon, although it's also not as wrong as it seems at first blush. The shonen demographic (ages in the range of 13-18-ish) is something that doesn't really exist in NA, but is a huge demographic in anime and manga, and eva was created (or at least sold to its producers and tv networks) as a shonen title (which ranges from things like One Piece to Death Note). Looking at its creative ambitions, though, I think it stands as a lot more mature than the demographic sales pitch would suggest.

Lord Geo wrote:
...

I'm not saying that the term "Eva Clone" isn't without merit, & I am only checking out the first 5-7 episodes of each of these shows, but so far I've been seeing that the term itself is feeling more like a way for people to simply dismiss having to actually watch these later shows, based primarily on the fact that Evangelion came first. It'd be like dismissing any 70s super robot show because they're "Mazinger Clones", or any 80s real robot show because they're "Gundam Clones".

I mean, let's face it, mech anime in general is super iterative & flows based on what's popular. Dismissing stuff for being "clones", regardless of what they actually do differently, is kind of silly.


I think you mostly hit it on the head, but the fact that there are so many anime that appear in the near aftermath of eva with similar aesthetics (biological robots) and tone (an exploration and development of the character's sense of self) really does lend credence to the impact eva had, especially in capturing the zeitgeist of the day.

In some ways it feels a lot like the isekai boom. I haven't watched enough isekai to truly complete this thesis, but the deep, sometimes overwhelming introspection of eva, coupled with its bouts of highly experimental and abstract animation really succeeded in capturing the mood of the times (perhaps mirrored by isekai's tendency to depict and overwhelming desire to escape the modern world, while still wanting to make a positive impact?). In some ways, perhaps, isekai is being presented with a world both unknown and familiar, and having to navigate its unique perils using logic learned in a world that is utterly different (in this case, our own world). Much like eva, it's a mix of escapism (giant robots! video game mechanics!) and a reflection of the problems that preoccupy its viewers (again, I don't have quite enough levels in the 'anime historian' class to be confident, but I suspect that Gundam is similar in the 80s with its preoccupation on cool robots and the horrors of total war, and the sensation that although it wasn't part of the current reality, it was always lurking in the background, in a way that it never really has since the cold war ended, at least in the west).

It's also interesting that just a few years after Eva was the Matrix, which likewise has its genes in just about every action movie since, and also had some interesting elements in questioning our own personal perception of reality, although in a very different way. I think it's important to remember that none of these works existed in a vacuum (eva especially was a love letter to tons of influences from well before it, and the Matrix was a love letter to hong kong action movies, and even its notions of the falseness of our perceived reality was far from unique - see the brilliant movie Dark City - it was rather something that tapped into the mood of the times), but rather they were a strong, well-executed crystallization of the prevailing preoccupations of the age. Most notably, they threw open the genre as something that could produce a strong hit, and made it commercially viable to produce works in either similar aesthetic space, or similar thematic space. The proof is in the works that follow, suddenly, production committees are much more willing to take a chance on something they perceive as 'evangelion-esque'.

Or I could be completely off it. Part of the fun with revising eva right now is that the immediate impact it had has largely faded, and we can start evaluating it in a historical context (although it's still a very strong work and worth watching in its own right as well).
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Lord Geo



Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:35 pm Reply with quote
VerQuality wrote:
I think you mostly hit it on the head, but the fact that there are so many anime that appear in the near aftermath of eva with similar aesthetics (biological robots) and tone (an exploration and development of the character's sense of self) really does lend credence to the impact eva had, especially in capturing the zeitgeist of the day.


Oh, of course. Eva certainly opened up new doors that were previously closed off, because producers felt that there wouldn't be any money in the. All I was trying to get at is that, while the "Eva Clone" term has a reason for existing, it's mostly used as an excuse for people to simply dismiss these later productions because they are taking advantage of what Eva did, rather than actually give them a try & see what they try to do differently.
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killjoy_the



Joined: 30 May 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:02 pm Reply with quote
Ali07 wrote:
Still, don't know if I'll end up checking out manga before anime in this case, as the hunt for discs will likely be harder (due to prices).


Well I'm assuming the Netflix subscription is a lot cheaper than buying the manga Razz

I read the manga after watching the anime and EoE. It's pretty good, and expands on a couple of things while brushing off some others. If you're particularly interested in alternate endings I find the manga's to be the most optimistic one.
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shabu shabu



Joined: 25 Jan 2019
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:28 pm Reply with quote
VerQuality wrote:
Edit: RE eva as a kid's show
It's pretty disingenuous to classify eva as a kid's show, as if to put it on the same level as something like Pokemon, although it's also not as wrong as it seems at first blush. The shonen demographic (ages in the range of 13-18-ish) is something that doesn't really exist in NA, but is a huge demographic in anime and manga, and eva was created (or at least sold to its producers and tv networks) as a shonen title (which ranges from things like One Piece to Death Note). Looking at its creative ambitions, though, I think it stands as a lot more mature than the demographic sales pitch would suggest.


Evangelion is most certainly a show aimed at young children. The first posts mentions Evangelion and the American Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon both shared the same timeslot. They were both aimed at the same demographic and mostly watched by children when they first came out here back in the middle of the 1990s.
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